by Kathy Palokoff
I have eaten thousands of pizza slices in my lifetime. In villages and cities around the world. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alone and with friends.
In fact, I am even a partner in Baltimore’s Joe Squared, which has repeatedly been named one of the best pizza joints in the United States. We make a square pizza with a sour dough crust and eclectic combinations of toppings, all cooked in a 900 degree coal-fired oven. Tasty. (The above picture is one of our pizzas we created to help raise money and awareness for a local non-profit.)
Being a pizza lover and pizza joint owner has made me a better marketer. Here’s how:
- Familiarity. No matter what and where the pizza, it always has three components: crust, sauce, toppings. And that is a good thing. I think that sometimes as marketers in our search for the next new idea or insight, we sometimes forget the power of familiarity in a world of constant change. Do we really weigh the loss of changing a logo or tagline for something new? Is “fresh” always better? I personally think we always need to search for new, but sometimes it is right in front of us in the familiar. What do you think?
- Execution Rules. I’ve had a lot of bad pizzas in my life. Cheese that is not really cheese. Soggy crusts. Rubbery toppings. Simply, badly executed pizza making. It takes me back to my days at Saatchi where our fearless leader’s mantra was “Strategy is everything. Execution is everything else.” No matter how great a marketing concept is, if it is not delivered with quality and attention to detail then it will fall short. Where do you think execution often falls short as a marketer?
- Surprise. I have had amazing pizza in surprising places. Hole-in-the-wall bars in tiny towns. Suburban strip malls that have seen better days. Even in the middle of China. It always surprises and delights me. At Joe Squared, people are often surprised. Square pizza. Strange combos like our Bacon and Clam Pizza that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. In an urban neighborhood that is struggling with revitalization. We are a surprise that lots of people like and some, not so much. I think great marketing surprises. Classics like the baby in the Michelin tire. Or the recent fun of the live commercial musical video with Gwen Stefani and Target for the Super Bowl. What’s the biggest surprise you have experienced in a marketing campaign?